Hume faith battle

Hume council (Damjan Janevski). 336543_02

Zoe Moffatt

The distribution of faith events across Hume was the topic of passionate debate among councillors when they discussed the 2024 proposed civics events schedule.

At a meeting on February 12, councillors endorsed an amended 2024 civic event schedule. The schedule details official council events that are held for celebratory or commemorative purposes.

Cr Jodi Jackson moved an amendment that the schedule include an event to acknowledge Diwali and one to acknowledge Easter.

“Hume city is one of Australia’s most diverse cities, which is something that we are all incredibly proud of,” she said.

“We know that in Hume city, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Sikhism are the major faith orientations and each faith background holds their celebrations dear to their heart.

“Given our diversity and its richness, I’d love to see us not only celebrate the faith of the Islamic community, as included in the schedule, but also extend this to our other communities.

“The civic events schedule has omitted any other faith events beyond Iftar and I know that the other largest faith orientations in Hume would dearly appreciate this recognition by their local council.”

Cr Sam Misho said he believes council officers should undertake research to know what faiths are in the municipality and have more specific events for them.

“I think we should capture all of our audience,” he said. “I really think that we should have a policy, we do our research… and know what faiths people have.

“Before we… jumped into this we should have actually studied every different faith and worked out through the census how many people we have and address their faith and celebration.”

Cr Misho also questioned the wording of the Hume Multifaith Iftar Dinner event listed in the schedule.

“When this is Iftar, I really believe it should be Iftar, not Multifaith Iftar because for me it doesn’t make sense.

“Either we celebrate Iftar to address the Muslim community or if we are going to do a multifaith we have to study this better, give it deep thought and come up with a different outcome.”

Cr Chris Hollow spoke against the amendment and said he felt it was too late to add extra events.

“Although I 100 per cent agree with what you’re saying, I just don’t think right now is the right time to be adding these new ones [in],” he said.

“My advice would be for the next group of councillors and next mayor to actually sit down and plan four years around what they would like to do and make sure they cover everyone from all faiths.”